Holiday Team Building Ideas

HolidayThe holiday season is a wonderful time to plan team building activities for your employees to enjoy during November and December.  Whether you choose winter-themed activities such as games and events or volunteering for a special cause in your community, the holiday season is the perfect time to bring everyone together in celebration and appreciation.

Team building activities during this time of year can be individually planned, incorporated into your company’s holiday party, held throughout the month, or even planned as a virtual activity for those team members with remote or hybrid schedules.  Consider these ideas to add to the season’s festivities and let your team know how much they are valued:

Host a Decoration Party

This is always a fun activity to get everyone involved. From selecting the tree (or un-boxing the artificial tree) to hanging ornaments, it’s a time for everyone to enjoy. If you need decor, consider forming a committee to organize the event.  We suggest creating a time during office hours where everyone can gather, enjoy camaraderie, hot spiced cider, cookies, holiday music and more. To liven-up the event you can even incorporate a fun “Ugly Sweater” contest and white-elephant gift exchange. This is a great way to welcome the holiday season!

Gingerbread Decorating Contest

This is a fun team building activity that can be organized with small teams or individuals. Several retailers sell kits during the holiday season that can be purchased for your team and are relatively easy to use.  This is also a nice activity to include remote workers. Simply plan a time where everyone can unveil their masterpiece. If you’re a retail business with client traffic, offer them an opportunity to vote for their favorite. Consider having prizes for the winners and take lots of pictures.

Cookie Exchange

A cookie exchange is much like an all-desert version of a potluck. Each team member bakes at least one kind of cookie and brings the batch on a pre-designated day. The cookies are arranged in a buffet style so that each team member can make-up a plate or box of the assortment. It’s also nice for everyone to bring a copy of their recipe to share too!


The holiday spirit is about showing kindness and goodwill. During December, bring your team together to complete a service project that helps the community. For example, adopt a local family to buy Christmas gifts for, build care packages for soldiers overseas, partner with a local charity to conduct a food drive, or contact one of the many service organizations to see how you might get involved with their community outreach.

Secret Santa

Secret Santa gift swaps are one of the most popular team building activities. This fun holiday tradition can be held over a few weeks or on one designated day. First, ask employees to sign-up for the exchange and list a few things that they like. Set a budget. For example, if the Secret Santa exchange will be held weekly during the month of December, set the budget at $5.00 per item. If it’s a one-time event, then the budget may increase to $25, or wherever your team is comfortable. Office Secret Santa exchanges tend to work best when there is a significant, yet modest, price limit.

If you’re leaning towards the month-long Secret Santa exchange, participants shop for their assigned recipient and leave the gifts anonymously on their desk (or assigned area) each week. The identity is kept secret until the final exchange.

If you’re organizing a one-time exchange, the group gathers on a planned date and time. The gift givers can either reveal themselves by delivering the present personally or the recipient can try to guess. Either way, this is great fun and also gives everyone an opportunity to show their gratitude for fellow team members.

Christmas Light Caravan

Taking Christmas light tours is an easy and inexpensive holiday team outing. Some communities host professional displays and have special events too. Rent a bus or van or recruit drivers to form a caravan and map out your destination(s). There are neighborhoods in many communities known for setting up beautiful displays. Whether you drive through or park and take a stroll on the sidewalks, this is an event sure to make holiday spirits bright. Consider ending the evening with a round of hot cocoa and a toast to the team.

Christmas Office BINGO

Christmas Office BINGO is an observational game. Players receive cards (you can DIY) with common December occurrences that happen at the office.  BINGO squares may include a Christmas carol on the radio, someone wearing red, a Christmas card received in the mail…and so on. Upon spotting one of these happenings, players can mark off a square on their BINGO card. The objective of the game is to mark five squares in a row, column, or diagonal. The first to call “BINGO” wins a prize!

There are so many wonderful ways to celebrate the holidays with your team and share your appreciation for their contributions. Other ideas include a Team Recipe Book, hanging personalized stockings and fill them with treats throughout the month, organize a holiday-themed scavenger hunt, take hot cider and cocoa breaks, plan a group fitness class to battle the excessive sweets and stress of the season, host a holiday trivia game or a Happy New Year toast.

The holiday season is a time of togetherness and a time to foster camaraderie and cheer. These fun events also help employees destress and re-energize for the new year. Planning ahead and getting everyone involved will make your office jolly and bright.

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*Southland Data Processing, Inc. (“SDP”) is not a law firm. This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon in reaching a conclusion in a particular area of law. Applicability of the legal principles discussed may differ substantially in individual situations. Receipt of this or any other SDP materials does not create an attorney-client relationship. SDP is not responsible for any inadvertent errors that may occur in the publishing process.

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